News From the Front Lines – Oct 24-28

For those of us who have been following the Revolution, it is no surprise that things had taken a violent turn. For now, the violence appears to have been started by outside agitators and police while the protestors at the camps have remain steadfastly peaceful.

Portland, Maine

Early Sunday morning, a group of suspects driving a white sedan threw an improvised explosive device (IED) into the kitchen area of the Occupy Portland Maine base camp. The IED was made up of an explosive chemical mixture in a Gatorade bottle. The explosion lifted a table off the ground, but nobody was injured. Police do not yet have a suspect in custody and suspect that the Portland protestors were simply a target of opportunity for bored teens. Not taking any chances, the protestors have moved their kitchen tent away from the road and have increased security during the cold nights.

Atlanta, Georgia

A more dangerous situation occurred in the South as a man that many believe was an agent instigator walked through the Occupy Atlanta encampment on Sunday with an assault rifle strapped to his back. The man was no longer on the scene by the time police came to investigate, but the image of this man was plastered all over the Internet. Fearing that the protests may become violent, the mayor ordered police to evict the protestors from Woodruff Park on Wednesday night, which resulted in over 50 arrests. Since then the protestors have decided to maintain their occupation by resembling a nomadic tribe moving their encampment to various locations around the city before being chased out by police.

Last night protestors camped at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, which is owned by the Federal Government, but plans to make a permanent encampment on private land this weekend at an undisclosed location.

Oakland, California

The protest that captured the world’s attention took place in the city across the bay from San Francisco where the mayor and police decided to take a more aggressive stand against the protest movement, which resulted in violence and the critical injury of an Iraq War Veteran.

It all began last weekend when the mayor and chief of police informed protestors that they were no longer welcome sleep the night in front of City Hall. On Tuesday night, hundreds of police officers in full riot gear fired tear gas, bean bags and rubber bullets into the crowd of peaceful protestors who refused to leave. Nearly 100 protestors were arrested and their tents and supplies were destroyed and loaded into dumpsters.

On Wednesday night the protestors regrouped and attempted to retake the heavily fortified plaza where police who were reinforced by many surrounding districts and continued to react violently. Scott Olsen, 24, a two-time Iraq War veteran and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War was struck in the head by a police projectile, which resulted in a fractured skull and he remains in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

Galvanized by this act of police brutality against people simply expressing their 1st Amendment Rights, the protestors continued their push to retake the plaza. Fortunately, police eventually backed down and allowed protestors to reestablish their camp on Thursday night. The mayor backtracked on her hard stance against the protestors and attempted to apologize to the camp but was politely rebuffed when she attempted to address the crowd.

Where is this Going?

Many within the movement are seeing the growing tension and violence against protestors as a sign that the 1% is starting to get scared. A recent Gallup poll has shown that over a thrid of Americans support the general beliefs of the Occupy Movement and that support still seems to be growing.

The talk on the comment boards is still moving towards support of a Constitutional Amendment to permanently remove money from politics, but there is far from a unified plan on how to achieve that end. The easiest path would be to force Congress to call an Article V Convention, but in order to do that, the protestors would have to convince lawmakers that it’s in their best interest to do that, and in the middle of an election cycle with campaign coffers awash in corporate money, the prospect seems bleak.

Then there’s talk of the Occupy National Convention that’s been tentatively scheduled in Philadelphia July 4th through October of 2012. What could a national convention actually accomplish, and would it be able to garner enough national attention in the middle of the 2012 Presidential race? Some within the movement want to turn the Convention into a “Rogue Constitutional Convention” where they would draw up a number of new Amendments with the backing of the “99%”. Some believe that they should use the opportunity to put forth their own Third Party Candidates for the House who would then get Congress to call an Article V Convention.

A Long Way to Go

While it’s clear that this movement is continuing to grow and gain the support of some media pundits and celebrities, its ultimate goals, whatever they end up being, will depend largely on whether or not the Movement can maintain its momentum and its presence in through the cold winter months. Will protestors continue to have the stamina to resist the police when they’re also fighting against hypothermia, frostbite and fatigue? Nobody really knows for sure. At Zuccuti Park today, the New York Fire Department, acting under orders from Mayor Bloomberg, removed all gasoline fuel, generators, and propane stoves from protestors citing safety concerns. Despite expected freezing temperatures and the possibility of snow tomorrow, #OWS has vowed to not let this obvious move to compromise their comfort to sway them from their cause.

For those of us who yearn for change to the status quo, we hope they will and we’ll provide them with as much material support as we can. Just know that we support you and want you to hold the line against corporate repression.

We cannot be silenced. We are too big to fail. We are the 99%!


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